This recipe makes three “small” loaves of sweet bread for Easter. It’s wonderful when you grill it!
Originally posted April 4, 2012
This recipe is one that takes a while from start to finish- nine hours to be exact- but if you’re game, it’s SO worth it! It is, of course, from my mom. She received it from a woman she worked with. It’s dated April 1992.
My mom makes it every year and I have made it once or twice myself. Don’t let the number of steps scare you off. If you go step-by-step it’s not hard.
Colleen DeMoranville’s Sweet Bread
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 and 1/4 cups hot milk
1 pkg. dry yeast (Fleishman’s Active Dry or Rapid Rise or Red Star)
1 egg- well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract (can also use almond if desired)
7 cups flour (start with between five and six and add more if needed)
one 15 ounce can sliced peaches, drained and sliced thinner
1) Mix butter, sugar, salt an d hot milk in a large bowl.
2) Let cool to lukewarm.
3) Stir yeast into 1/4 cup warm water and let stand 5 minutes. (If using a thermometer it’s 110-115 degrees.
4) Add 1/4 tsp sugar or whatever the package of yeast says to add.
5) Add dissolved yeast, egg, the extract and three cups of flour to the butter, sugar, salt and milk. Mix vigorously with flat wooden spoon.
6) Add three more cups of flour and then mix well.
7) If too sticky, add more flour. It almost always needs more, but not more than 7 cups. Too much flour will make the bread tough.
8) Turn out onto floured surface and knead it for one or two minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes. Add remaining flour only if sticky.
9) Knead more until elastic.
10) Put into large buttered bowl . Turn over once so it doesn’t dry out. Cover with a dishtowel or two and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. (Takes a few hours.)
11) Punch down and knead for another minute or two. Cut in half for two long loaves or in thirds for smaller loaves and divide each of those portions into three pieces (for a total of six or nine pieces.)
12) Stretch and roll each piece until long and uniform, about 12-18 inches if divided into two portions. Shorter if divided into three.
13) Use the three pieces to make a braid with each portion.
14) Pinch ends together.
15) Insert peach slices between braids.
16) Place each loaf on a buttered cookie sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk. (Takes about 2 hours.)
17) Brush each with one egg yolk that is mixed with 1 tsp. cold water.
18) Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes (check at about 20 minutes) if making 2 large loaves or less if making three smaller loaves (usually between 17 and 18 minutes)
19) Remove loaves to cooling racks.
20) Cool and then glaze with mixture of:
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla
5-6 tablespoons milk
Sprinkle with colored sprinkles or non-pareils.
This photo was taken a couple of years back when Elizabeth helped me make the bread. She was probably in first grade at the time. My point is: there’s lots of opportunity for kids to help out here. There’s measuring, kneading, braiding and more, that they can help out with.
NOTE: The whole process takes about nine hours. Start in the morning, end in the evening. Mixing and kneading takes about one hour. First rising takes about two hours. Braiding takes about a half hour. Second rising takes about two hours. Baking takes about a half for each loaf, then cool and glaze.
My mom stores hers in gift boxes (like from a department store) on waxed paper.